Through out life we pick up so many deep seeded fears that most of us are not even aware of. Our past experiences leave marks and tiny holes where we once felt whole. We can still feel the sharp stings from hurtful mouths, the disappointment from getting your hopes up just a little too high, and the most painful and unbearable heartache from lost loves. Each good or bad experience still lingers in the back of our minds. They manage to gain control of our lives affecting how we make decisions. We justify reasons on why we still choose to remain closed off and create our own detours in fear of the possibility of getting hurt again. Fear becomes the driving force behind our actions. Out of fear we stay in unhappy relationships, out of fear we don’t express how we feel, out of fear we never go back to school or ask for a raise. It is that same fear that is holding us back from ever reaching our fullest potential. Perpetually always feeling a bit of dissatisfaction with our selves.
Through out our childhoods and into adult life we are constantly being told what and what not to do out of fear. Out of someone else’s success or suffering. The phrase, “Don’t do that you are going to get hurt,” is playing on a skipping record in my mind. Even to this day, I still have people around me warning and prepping me for what “could happen”. I have always been one to never really put myself out there, choosing to build a wall. I led a pretty normal life. I graduated from college and work full time, but never really felt confident, authentic and whole. I struggled with feeing happy and satisfied with myself.
It wasn’t until a little voice inside me became so loud that I could no longer ignore it anymore. I let fear build layers upon layers of self doubt, fear of rejection, regret, and owning responsibility keep me safe behind a wall. As I become more and more aware of my inner voice, I become more aware of the fear holding it back. Never allowing myself to reach my potential or daring to think for myself against the world.
It’s a hard choice to make, whether to follow or lead. To lead is a forever courageous act of vulnerability, full of honesty and love. To lead is putting yourself out there for possible failure, rejection, and pain. As we begin to peel away our layers of fear, fear suddenly doesn’t feel so scary and life becomes full of meaning and satisfaction. For there is no greater feeling than to live the opposite of fear. An open, loving, authentic and vulnerable life.
Facing your fears head on is the only way to overcome them. We tend to create detours in life, thinking of ways to go around doing the one thing we really want but are too afraid of. It’s natural to try and come up with short cuts, to avoid really put ourselves out there in fear of a negative outcome. The more we listen to ourselves and follow our hearts, the more confident and empowered you will feel. You will be more open, excited and inclined to face your fears.
How to Face Your Fears
- Self Reflection – It is so important for us to reflect on what and why we are feeling the way we are feeling. If you are sad or angry, ask yourself why? What are you really unhappy with? Was it what someone else did or how you reacted? Most of everything we feel is a projection of how we feel about ourselves. If you are jealous of someone, maybe you are unsatisfied with your current situation. Maybe you want more for yourself or something different.
- Imagination – Imagine your life the way you want it. If there was nothing holding you back, not even money, what would it look like? Think about what is holding you back from having that. Most of us are afraid of change, in fear of the unknown. The more we sit with ourselves and think about what we want, but are too afraid to ask or act on, the more fear doesn’t seem so scary. Think of ways you can improve to start living more of the life you envision.
- Action – Begin taking baby steps towards living the way you want. Maybe you want a better job but are afraid of rejection, slowly take on more responsibility at work to gain more experience. Maybe you want to get married, but fear getting hurt, practice softening and opening up to the current people in your life.
Peeling away the layers of fear is a process and takes time and persistence. Just when you think you have reached the end, you will discover more layers of insecurity, frustration or pain still lingering. It is a forever commitment to be more aware of yourself. In doing so, you will feel better, happier and more satisfied knowing that you can achieve what you desire. You can be vulnerable, you can lead, you can love and you can make a difference.